Court Reduces Arellano-Felix Life Sentence to 23.5 Years

It was a big deal back in 2007 when Francisco Javier Arrellano-Felix was sentenced to life in prison.

In 2014, the judge reduced it to 23.5 years. Everything was sealed until this week when the Judge released a 9 page order denying a request by Arellano-Felix's lawyer to reduce it more, saying the government was too stingy with its 40% reduction for cooperation.

Arellano-Felix has been held in severe conditions and 23 hours a day lockdown for most of the time, although he's flown around the country and to Mexico with the DEA to cooperate. The Judge acknowledges the harsh conditions, but quotes a line from a Merle Haggard song, "And the joint [is] a bad place to be." [More...]

Arrellano was captured by the DEA in 2006 while on a yacht with his family. He pleaded guilty to avoid the Government filing a death penalty charge. The Court says in its order:

By 2002, Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix had become the head of the AFO. As such, he was the primary decision maker for the cartel, and he controlled the hierarchy of lieutenants and bosses who carried out the cartel's illegal activities. Under his supervision, AFO members engaged not just in drug trafficking, but in murder, kidnapping, torture, assault, extortion, firearms trafficking, bribery and public corruption. Particularly egregious is that by the defendant's own admission in his plea agreement, he personally murdered, participated in the murders of, and commissioned the murders of numerous people. His victims included informants (ironically, like himself), potential witnesses, and law enforcement officers.

With 9 years served, he'll be out in another 10 years or so. He's now 45 years old.

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